Warlord Wednesdays: Goonhammer Approved – Recover the Archeotech Cache

Welcome back to Goonhammer’s series for aspiring Titan Principes. We here at Goonhammer’s own Collegia Titanica know that Adeptus Titanicus can seem intimidating to players unfamiliar with its particular quirks, but this series aims to equip you with everything you’ll need to play out epic clashes on the battlefields of the far future with your very own Titan Battlegroup. In this series, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the various Legios of the Collegia Titanica – exploring their origins and how to use them on the tabletop, from maniple selection and their loadouts, through to how to command them on the field of battle to secure ultimate victory.

Ask anyone who has played Adeptus Titanicus about the game and they will tell you it is a system that is primed to give you memorable events and, more often, sequences of unfortunate events. While there is a wealth of narrative missions that have come out since the games release, the matched play rules haven’t been expanded since the base game. This can lead to a bit of repetition if you weren’t fortunate enough to get your hands on the Open War Cards. If you’re one of those unfortunate souls, don’t worry: Christmas has come a little early as we’re here to share with you a new Matched Play scenario for Adeptus Titanicus.

BEHOLD:
Goonhammer Approved – Recover the Archeotech Cache

For those of you are eager and want to dive into the rules, click the link above. We’ll be talking about some of the highlights of the scenario, what we found during playtesting, and a battle report between Condit and Bair to give you an idea of how it plays.

True Messengers Warlord Titan. Credit – Patrick Robins

What we wanted from a new matched play scenario

Adeptus Titanicus Matched Play involves the secret selection of your objective before the game based on a dice roll, which does add a bit of flavour before you get into the game. However, after a handful of games, it often feels like it comes down to whoever rolled Engage and Destroy or Hold the Line as these are significantly easier for most battlegroups to achieve.

As we’ve had countless games with the basic matched play rules, we decided to try cooking up our own scenario. We had a few key considerations when we were coming up with potential ideas:

  • Avoid the feel bad moments from having asymmetric goals. Whilst asymmetry can make for some interesting plays, it’s quite depressing one player rolls up double Vital Cargo with a slow heavy maniple.
  • Reward movement, the most important phase of the game. We wanted to encourage players to move around the field and avoid fixed gunline play.
  • Be objective based with progressive scoring. Objectives don’t see enough use in Adeptus Titanicus. It also gives some Legios like Lysanda the opportunity to use their objective related traits and stratagems.
  • Utilise half and half deployment, which provides a bit more balance between battlegroups with differing numbers of drops but keeps time spent in deployment fairly low.
  • Experiment with some mission based stratagems, giving some more tactical options to the Princeps that might complement different battlegroups.
  • Different paths to victory – we wanted to ensure that as a player you had different ways to win. You can play the objective game or you can instead opt to destroy objectives earlier on if you feel the negative victory points are in your favour. We also wanted to ensure a balance between the different sizes of engines, as if a slower, larger engine made it to an objective it should be rewarded for it. Likewise, Knights with their unique rules need to have a fair yet balanced approach to influence the game.
    • Lastly, the victory points awarded should be in the right scale to ensure that the tertiary objective stratagems are relevant and worth taking.

After loads of tweaking and many games trying this within our group, we feel this is in a position to put out there and we would love to hear your feedback.

In the meantime, Condit and Bair took it out for a spin to give you a sense for how it plays. Here’s the results:

 

Condit’s Legio Vulpa

Legio Vulpa Axiom Maniple. Credit: Garrett “Condit” Severson

Precept Battleline Maniple

Warlord Battle Titan

  • Arioch Titan Power Claw
  • Macro Gatling Blaster
  • Paired Gatling Blasters
  • Disruption Emitters
  • Plasma Gargoyles

Warbringer-Nemesis Battle Titan

  • Laser Blaster
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Mori Quake Cannon
  • Princeps Seniores: Cruel

Reaver Battle Titan – Vestiti Ferrus

  • Laser Blaster
  • Reaver Titan Chainfist
  • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
  • Disruption Emitters

Warhound Scout Titan

  • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
  • Turbo-Laser Destructor
  • Disruption Emitters

Warhound Scout Titan

  • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
  • Turbo-Laser Destructor
  • Disruption Emitters

The idea behind this list is pretty straightforward: the Warbringer is fire support while the rest of the Titans move up the board and try to engage in close combat. The Warlord and Reaver are both dangerous enough to absolutely shred anything they make contact with, and the Warhounds will do serious damage to any target they charge as well. The trick is going to be getting them up the board. Thankfully, I’ve got plenty of tricks in my arsenal as Traitors to be able to make it happen, so with any luck, I’ll be able to give Zach a real run for his money.

I chose Cruel on the Warbringer to drop some templates on Knights in the early game and whittle their numbers down – the Volkites on Zach’s Styrix could be annoying, and Cerastus of any flavor are always a pain to deal with. The extra 2 strength will help counteract their defensive rules, and the fact that it’s a buff to strength rather than to the armor roll means I’ll be able to ignore their Ion Shields and go straight for the kill.

Bair’s Legio Vulcanum

 

Legio Vulcanum Reaver Titan
Credit: DaBair_paints IG

Corsair Battleline Maniple

Reaver Battle Titan

  • Princeps Seniores- Iron-clad Tyrant
  • Melta Cannon
  • Reaver Titan Chainfist
  • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
  • Twinned Machine Spirits

Reaver Battle Titan

  • Melta Cannon
  • Reaver Titan Chainfist
  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher- Janus Pattern
  • Twinned Machine Spirits

Reaver Battle Titan

  • Melta Cannon
  • Gatling Blaster
  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher- Janus Pattern
  • Twinned Machine Spirits

Reaver Battle Titan

  • Princeps Seniores- Dominant Strategist
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Laser Blaster
  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher- Janus Pattern
  • Twinned Machine Spirits

Knight Support

Mechanicum Knight Styrix banner

  • 2 Knights Styrix

Mechanicum Knight Atrapos banner

  • 2 Knights Atrapos

This is a list I’ve basically been wanting to try for a while now. Reavers are probably my favourite chassis of Titan but with Vulcanum I wouldn’t want to field a 5th Reaver that wasn’t twinned to something, hence the Knight support banners.  I’ve used the Vulcanum upgrade Twinned Machine Spirits on each of the four Reavers to form two squadrons of 2 Reavers, grouped together so that the ones with a chainfist were in a squadron together and that the longer ranged fire support would be together. Being able to form squadrons with another Reaver for both shield sharing and coordinated strikes takes the Titan’s survivability and killing power to higher levels as well. As a Vulcanum battlegroup I can also choose 2 of my Titans to be a Princeps Seniores, each gaining a trait as well as the bonus +2 to command checks. Pairing each of these with a non-Princeps Seniores means that squadron orders go off almost all of the time, and taking Iron-clad Tyrant to re-roll an order per turn within the maniple means I’m getting the orders I want where I want.

The Atrapos Knights have the potential to be very destructive as well, re-rolling hits of 1 against targets Reaver sized or larger and with concussive weapons that could cause some very nasty collisions as well as Fusion melee weapons to really be able to put the hurt on larger Titans being able to score up to a 16 before taking into account any flank or damage bonuses. The Styrix Banner is cheap enough to slot into the list without having to lose any of the Janus missile upgrades or swapping out for cheaper weapons, at 150 points for the pair they’re a nice cheap little activation that can help shred shields with their 6 shots at range. 

Stratagem wise I kept  with the theme of Vulcanum’s cloning and took MIU Link to link up the two Princeps Seniores Titans, allowing the Laser Blaster to hit using its short range modifier more often while being able to stay further back. I also wanted to try Titan Hunter Infantry, a strat that I don’t often use or that sees much use in my experience, but thinking that a few extra shots could help strip that last pesky shield off allowing the Titans do more killing work. Playing against Vulpa means two basic things: they want to get close, and then they want to charge. To counter this I took Vox Blackout as well as Bloodthirst, to stop that initial charge turn from happening and then when the second was bound to happen I would have Bloodthirst so I could at least hit back hard, if I survived. 

Deployment

Deployment

Condit: Bair deployed first, and I did my best to take advantage. I put my Warhounds on the right side within pushing distance of the objective I placed to hopefully score some early points. I put the Warlord and Reaver on the other side on the theory that I’d advance them up the flank, then deployed the Warbringer with coverage of as much open space in the center of the board as possible, hoping to catch the Knights as they came out of cover.

I put Venerable Machine Spirit on my Warlord and Profane Blessing on the Reaver, figuring that would give me maximum reliability when trying to issue a charge order. I also picked War Lust, and then for some reason that I will never be able to adequately explain, didn’t use it on the first round. Whoops.

Bair: I knew I’d have to hide the Knights from the Warbringer so they could survive while also allowing some firing lines from my Reavers to start pinging shields off to stop the inevitable advance of the Claw-Lord. MIU link played on the Princeps Seniores Titans as planned, but realised I wouldn’t get too much use from it this game shortly after, points better spent towards outflanking some Knights maybe. 

Round 1

End of the first movement phase

Condit: Bair won the roll-off for initiative, starting a trend that would carry through right until the end of the game. I declared Full Stride for my Precept order, and started both the Warlord and the Reaver up the table at full speed. One of my Warhounds pushed for movement to get next to the objective, while the other moved up to support. Meanwhile, the Warbringer moved into position to threaten Bair’s Knights as they moved up the board while under Split Fire orders.

The Combat phase went OK, I guess. I captured an objective, dropping my Warhound’s Secutarii squad on the one closest to me. The Warhound pushed further up the board, while the Reaver’s machine spirit awakened and took a potshot at Bair’s closest Reavers, accomplishing a whole lot of nothing and standing there in the middle of the board like a jackass. Great. They returned fire, absolutely shredding my Warlord’s shields and making me glad I’d chosen to give it Venerable Machine Spirit, since I’d be able to automatically take Emergency Repairs the next turn.

Meanwhile, the Warbringer did some serious violence to the Knights Styrix, and dropped its Mori template on the other set of Reavers, plinking off the voids. A cool 3 points later, I was in the lead, for what it was worth.

Round 2

End of the second movement phase

Condit: Bair won initiative again, which was fun, I guess. At least he was nice enough to give me the Opus, which he then stole back in the Combat phase using Dominant Strategist. Oh well.

Bair: Oh, did I do that…?

Condit: Movement was fine, I guess. I’d picked Charge as my Precept order and put it on the Warhounds and Reaver, then given the Warbringer First Fire orders. The Warlord took Emergency Repairs and managed to relight voids. Bair’s Atropos hid behind a building under Charge orders, which I honestly didn’t expect. This threw me for a loop, and instead of staying put I changed plans to move to contest the central objective. I chose to keep my Warlord in place while my Reaver advanced to hopefully do some damage to the Reavers’ shields.

With the Atropos out of line of sight, my Warbringer poured its fire into the Reavers nearby. The Warlord and Reaver put as many shots as possible into the other set of Reavers, but didn’t really accomplish much. Meanwhile, the Warhounds got within striking distance of the central objective, and fired their weapons ineffectually at the air around the engines my Warlord and Reaver were targeting.

Meanwhile, Bair’s close combat Reavers advanced and put their melta cannons onto the objective, costing him a victory point but killing my squad on it and denying me a second round of scoring. He then dropped a pair of squads on the other objective to pick up some points of his own, and set up to do some incredibly rude things to my Warhounds in Round 3.

Bair: At this point I thought “that’s it, I can’t come back on points”. I’m not great at games needing to get to objectives and knew that my Reavers staring down a Claw-lord and combat wielding Reaver wouldn’t be able to afford to give up an activation any time soon. 

Round 3

End of the third movement phase

Bair won initiative. Again. Hooray.

My Warhounds moved in to contest the central objective, and Bair responded by moving his close combat Reavers in to flank them. I then tried to pull my Warlord back to put some fire on them and discourage him, which wound up being a horrific mistake, as I was only able to get one of my paired gatling blasters into line of sight. Meanwhile, a well-timed Vox Blackout from Bair meant that I couldn’t get a charge off with my Reaver, so I decided to move it forward and contest the objective and hope that either he activated something else first or my Reaver could survive his coordinated strike.

Narrator: It didn’t.

It did take a bit more effort than I think he was expecting, though. Meanwhile, my Warhounds managed to stay alive, somehow, and my Warbringer continued to flail ineffectually at his Reavers, although I did manage to pick off one of the Atrapos with blast templates. Unfortunately, my Reaver was now dead, my Warhounds were on their last legs due in part to a concussive hit from the Atrapos Knights earlier in the phase forcing a collision with one Warhound right into the central building it was stood next to, and my Warlord was suffering mightily going into Round 4. And to really add insult to injury, he managed to capture the other of the side objectives, though I had managed to keep the one in the middle.

Round 4

Guess who won initiative? If you guessed “Bair,” you win!

This turn was mostly perfunctory, seeing me take Bair’s Secutarii off of the objective nearest to my deployment zone, while he shredded my Warhounds and Warlord. The Warhounds were swiftly dealt with by a double charge, one from a Reaver skirting the building in the way, just, and the other from the Atrapos Knights which went in quick with Fusion melee weapons.  The rest of the round was pretty uneventful, with my Warbringer trying and failing to do anything of note.

Round 5

The final round saw me with a single Warbringer on the table. I was ready to call it a day, but Bair thought he could kill it. And for once in this game, he didn’t get what he wanted, and it survived. However, he still scored 2 more points, bringing him to a solid 10-point lead.

Credit: Soggy

Final Thoughts

Bair: I was happy that this list did basically what I wanted and expected it to do, after finding out Condit had War Lust we had a long hard talk about why that should’ve been a turn 1 play with a Full Stride Claw Lord and how many issues that would have presented to me. I won’t say I should have done anything too differently, because I think for the first time I actually played a game and made all of the right moves and decisions, which is weird. But also it clearly worked what I did, against what I had thought was going to be a very tough match up. I was pretty surprised that I didn’t lose single Reaver though, I had really anticipated the Warhounds to push the issue into them, hit with Disruption Emitters and get up under the shields, but in that turn 2 when that whole half of the table was on Charge Orders and I moved the Knights away instead of into the fight Condit was left dumbfounded and I think that really threw him off. The Titan Hunter Infantry basically did nothing all game, and I remembered why I just don’t take them often. They pinged off a shield here or there but it was quickly relit without issue. Definitely a very good game that had me thinking early on I’d lost it, but was able to swing it back. 

Condit: I definitely messed up by not using War Lust, and I didn’t get the Warhounds stuck in where I needed them to in order to get stuff done. I also completely messed up piloting my Warlord in the midgame, and rather than trying to bail the Warhounds out, I probably should have just re-committed and pushed into his Reavers. However, for a game in which I got tabled, I was still able to rack up a decent number of points, which really came down to playing the objectives and getting his Knights off the table early. Bair has clearly also learned from our earlier games on this mission that it can be difficult to win without getting at least a handful of points off of objectives, and he denied me easy access to the objectives which let him run away with it. All in all, I’ve had a blast with this mission, and am looking forward to getting in more games with it.

And there you have it. Feel free to check out the mission at the link above, and let us know your thoughts. Happy holidays from all of us here on the Warlord Wednesdays crew, and we’ll see you next week for our year-end roundup.

 

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